Unscheduled Event (1988)


At home, I shiver while winds run into louvers, like trains through corridors in a government building. The temperature is 65, chilly for Hawaii. It requires a thick coat to keep warm and a family of friends sitting on a long couch in a damp house, where rain drops and termites work together to provide the water spotting on the black and white tiles. This is the second day of freak weather and I think it is worse than Hurricane Iwa. It rains so hard you can’t get to the East side of the island from either the North or South. In some places the water reaches five feet and furniture floats. Cars flood, and some press against landslides filling highway lanes as rain gushes across them.


Teenagers having fun in darkness, pull bicycles in waist-deep water on the Waimanalo side past the point only Mac trucks can go. We watch as water sputters from our exhaust pipe, a collection tube in this weather and flooding. We drive, my wife and I, to the Nui Valley road block where drivers sneak highway-left and find depth too deep by car, or by truck unapproachable. In the confusion we wait imagining an accident as the fire engine horns blare. Waiting for a half-hour, we steal along side streets… We are late for a New Year’s Eve party in Hawaii Kai.


Where Nuuanu Pali Road and Pali Highway meet, we ask an officer how we can get to Hawaii Kai, he says we can probably go by way of Likelike Highway. Near Kailua we drive alongside of a Mercedes as the rain rushes though our wheels in a quiet brown; after which there are the results of a landslide in my lane. The engine cools and the carburetor is flooded for twenty minutes. It is dark and unfriendly. Cars line the highway, but where are the people? I see a woman without a raincoat trying to make it to a police officer’s car; she is hesitant. She decides against it, disappearing into the darkness. Trying the car, we are along the railing. We might be comfortable except we have a party to go to. It is 12:30AM. The car starts. Driving slowly is my wife’s request. In crossing the Waimanalo Bridge, water is up to our doors.


Pulling into the 7-11 near Castle Hospital, we have dinner. Eating barbecue beef, orange juice, and an ice cream sandwich.

It is 3:30PM waiting in our apartment as the rain and wind rush outside, moving like a train against the covered windows or down the roadway between the buildings. Weathermen are nonchalant, ignorant of the devastation. Unable to get to their parties, people shiver in their homes seeking sympathy from regular-scheduled programing. – 1988

One comment

  1. I like the use of the historical present in this narrative as it makes all the past events more vivid. Also, the inserted pics – by the way, you are a great photographer – are an excellent idea to illustrate a story on a blog. Interesting that you talk about rather negative things in Hawaii. I have never been there. In contrast, Hawaii was my ideal world, a world of fantasy, when I was a child as I wrote in this story you already read and reviewed: https://momentsbloc.wordpress.com/2016/06/14/hawaiian-dolls/
    Now I have another story I wrote in 10 minutes during a writing workshop before Christmas. I am also using the historical present. Will post it on my blog as soon as I can.

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